I am not a pilot, but at my company we are trying to figure out what FCC license we need to use to talk to our pilot when we are on the ground and they are flying. My research has led me to mixed answers and I am trying to see the proper way to go about this. I am trying to get my amateur radio license. Will this suffice? Can we register as a ground station to use the radios as well? Here is the link for the ground station information: https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/aviation-radio-services/ground-stations

Thanks for all the help

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What country are you in? In my jurisdiction you need an air band licence and can then transmit from the air or ground; it’s assumed you know the protocols and won’t use airband for chit-chat $\endgroup$
    – Frog
    Jul 21 at 8:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. From what distance would you be needing to reach your pilot? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 21 at 9:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Frog, Max used the Tag faa-regulations which implies USA (although a more appropriate tag may be fcc-regulations). $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jul 21 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a ham radio operator but I know virtually nothing about aviation, and this doesn't really answer the question, so I'm posting it as a comment. If this was non-commercial, you could likely use amateur radio. (The fact that you said "company" makes me assume this is commercial.) An amateur radio license does not allow you to transmit on air band, but AFAIK it is okay to have an amateur radio transceiver on an airplane. In that case, the pilot would have an amateur transceiver in addition to whatever pilots normally have, and the ground station would have only an amateur transceiver. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Aug 12 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


The license you are looking for is a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's License. It authorizes you to use a radio on aircraft, as well as ground stations on the air band. Pilots don't need it unless they plan to fly internationally, but it's free, there's no test and you only have to apply once, so it's not a bad idea to get one anyway.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That covers the operator. You also need a radio station license to cover the base station radio. The radios in aircraft used to require them as well but the requirement was deleted 20+ years ago as being redundant to the FAA registration of the aircraft, as the registration number is the default call sign for the station. If you're operating a ground station, the FCC wants to know where it is. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Aug 5 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ You are correct, but since he only asked what license was needed to transmit I left out the need for the base station license. $\endgroup$ Aug 5 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Abd to clarify something else you mentioned... No, an Amateur Radio license does not replace or supersede a radio operator's license. $\endgroup$
    – Max
    Aug 7 at 1:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.